What is learning disability?
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A learning disability is a reduced ability to learn, understand new information or cope independently. There is a wide range of of learning disabilities, with around 1.5 million people in the UK classed as having a learning disability of some form
What causes a learning disability?
There are various causes of learning disabilities, including:
- Genetic, where a baby inherits a learning disability from their parents’ genes.
- An illness or injury during childhood, such as meningitis.
- The mother being ill during pregnancy.
- Problems during the birth that have prevented the baby from having enough oxygen going to their brain.
In some cases, the cause for a learning disability is unknown.
How does a learning disability affect a person’s life?
Some people with a learning disability will lead a rich and independent life in their community, whilst others with more complex support needs may never be able to live a fully independent life.
Whilst many people with learning disabilities can live independently, others may need round-the-clock care and assistance with tasks that involve co-ordination, communication or handling money, for example.
Specialist support can help people with learning disabilities and their families to live as full and enjoyable a life as they possibly can.
LD Network learning disability support
The LD Network is a specialist support package provider for people with learning disabilities and their families. Through a team of highly qualified support staff, LD Network designs bespoke care packages to help people with learning disabilities to live as fully and independently as possible.
From delivering an excellent level of care, to identifying the best ways to support families based on the specific circumstances, LD Network offers comprehensive care packages to support people with all types and severities of learning disabilities.
Types of learning disability
Dyscalculia is a learning disability related to mathematics and is sometimes referred to as number dyslexia. It impairs the ability to perform maths calculations and several other maths concepts such as problem solving and reasoning.
Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects the ability to write, usually involving difficulties with spelling and legibility and sometimes word spacing and sizing. The person will often hold a pen with an unusual, uncomfortable looking grip.
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty, rather than a learning disability. With dyslexia, the person can have problems with reading, writing and spelling but intelligence is not affected. There are six different types of dyslexia and the level of impact on their reading, writing and spelling varies.
Non-verbal learning disability
A non-verbal learning disability (NVLD) is where a child struggles with communication that is not verbal. It can involve being unable to understand and interpret social cues, which can impact the ability to build relationships.
With an NVLD, the person’s writing and speech is usually unaffected, but they will think in more literal terms and struggle to process nonverbal clues. Around 80% of children with Asperger’s also have NVLD symptoms.
Oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit
Written language disorder is where writing ability is below the age they are supposed to be at and may typically include problems with spelling, punctuation and unusual structure of letters and sentences.
Oral language disorder is an impairment of spoken language and might involve a delay in developing phonological skills and being less vocal than peers of their same age. Not starting to put sentences together as early as children of their age is another common symptom.
With specific reading comprehension deficit, the reader struggles with understanding word meanings. It is sometimes described as like reading a foreign language, where you can pronounce the words but do not understand what they mean.
ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and it usually affects how people behave. For some people, ADHD can mean that they have trouble trying to concentrate on one activity for any longer than a short period of time.
People with ADHD can seem restless and agitated and they often act on impulse rather than taking time to think before reacting to a comment or action. ADHD will usually get diagnosed at school age, somewhere between ages 6 to 12, although this can vary. Children with ADHD benefit from extra support at school to learn techniques to help with studying.
Dyspraxia is a disorder that affects fine and gross motor skills, where co-ordination skills and movement is often less developed. The disorder does not affect intelligence, but it can sometimes affect speech.
Children with Dyspraxia often struggle with activities that require balance and co-ordination like sports, carrying items steadily and writing. In adulthood, activities that require good motor skills such as driving, or DIY can be difficult or dangerous.
Executive functioning disorder affects how the frontal lobe of the brain functions and impacts whether someone can pay attention, manage their time, plan and organise. This disorder can prevent people from being able to be productive and get things done without getting distracted.
Executive functioning disorder can mean that people are less able to remember information or think creatively. Organising and scheduling tasks might be difficult too.